Chief Executive Women the latest to highlight boost to economy and women’s workforce participation from greater investment in early learning and care
10 May 2022 – Thrive by Five welcomes the release today of a new report by Chief Executive Women (CEW) showing that halving the wage gap between men and women could fix the current skills shortage and create the equivalent of 500,000 additional full-time jobs.
The CEW report finds closing the gender pay gap and unlocking women’s workforce participation will require government action to:
- Make quality early childhood education and care accessible and affordable;
- Invest in well-paid, secure jobs in care sectors;
- Expand the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave scheme for all parents; and
- Make workplaces safe from sexual harassment.
Australian women are ranked number one in the world in terms of educational attainment, yet ranked 70th in the world for economic participation1.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill said political leaders were talking up wanting a better future for Australia and one of the best ways of delivering was greater investment in childcare.
“An investment in childcare is an investment in a healthier future and economy for Australia,” he said.
“Labor and the Greens have joined with unions and key business and women’s groups in a call for more affordable, universal access to high quality early learning and childcare in Australia.
“The Coalition should join them and offer a bipartisan commitment that the next Federal Government will increase investment in early learning.
“It’s vital we support women, children and families and underpin a healthy economy with universally accessible, high-quality and affordable early learning, paid parental leave and better pay and conditions for early educators.
“We need accessible, high-quality three-year-old preschool everywhere in Australia and early learning permanently on the National Cabinet agenda for ongoing reform,” Mr Weatherill said.
Chief Executive Women’s Addressing Australia’s Critical Skill Shortages: Unlocking Women’s Economic Participation report available here:
Thrive by Five’s eight key recommended early learning policy reforms are:
• Long-term Federal and State partnership to fund 15 hours per week of three year old pre-school;
• Long-term Federal and State partnership to fund 15 hours per week of four year old pre-school;
• Progressive increase in the childcare subsidy for first child to 95 per cent, starting with lifting the current subsidy to 90 per cent;
• Increase in the childcare subsidy for second or third children to 100 per cent;
• Make universal early learning system a formal National Cabinet priority;
• Improved workforce planning to fund appropriate pay and conditions for teachers and educators to end the problem of skill shortages, high vacancy rates and high turnover in the sector;
• Phase-in paid parental leave paid at the minimum wage for up to 12 months shared between parents/carers starting with an immediate move to 26 weeks of paid leave; and
• Universal access to maternal and child health care, with additional home visits for families needing extra support.
This publication is for information only concerning the policy agenda of Thrive by Five. For more detailed information please visit www.thrivebyfive.org.au